Unfortunately, just having a profile isn’t enough. As with a professional resume, your profile must make a good impression and quickly outline your marketable skills while succinctly presenting a bit of who you are as an individual. It can be a hard balance to strike and people often miss small details that can make a big difference.
The following are a few “Best Practices” to help your profile stand out amidst the crowd.
1. Profile Photo – First thing, you NEED a profile photo. The blue box outline provided as a place-holder by LinkedIn is not supposed to be your profile picture. Also, this is a professional forum, your trip to that crazy bar in the Bahamas is probably not your best bet. I am not saying you need to invest in professional headshots (although it wouldn’t hurt). Choose a photo that portrays your professional image, from your clothes to your hair and makeup (if applicable). Don’t use a full body image or an image that has other people or animals in the photos.
2. Summary – This little area is a chance to set yourself apart from the crowd so don’t waste it with a trite or overused statement. A simple Google search will provide lists of overused buzzwords to avoid. Spend some time and craft a personal message that encapsulates your career goals and achievements to date.
3. Experience – Much like your resume, you don’t have to list every position that you have worked since your teen years. Highlighting the most relevant and recent positions that you have held is the best way to go. If you have very limited experience, it is appropriate to list internships, volunteer work, or other relevant positions that contribute to your career path. Handle large gaps in employment as you would on a resume.
4. Recommendations – Know that a good recommendation trumps the shallower “endorsement” feature on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to ask people that you have worked with for a formal recommendation on LinkedIn. Especially if they hold a position of authority and have complimented you on work you have done. LinkedIn is not a forum for your friends to say how great they think you are, but rather a chance to have people who have seen a value in what you do formally recognize it.
These practices will assist you on your way to a great LinkedIn profile. For more insights, LinkedIn offers help by way of profile recommendations; it is worth the time and effort to look into those as well. Hopefully, these tips will start you on your way to crushing your professional goals with the help of social media.
Social Media Adviser for the Business Innovation Center